Data Protection

The GDPR’s Second Birthday: Three Cheers But No Presents

The GDPR has just celebrated its second birthday and, to mark the occasion, the European Commission (‘EC’) has published an assessment of its effectiveness so far. While praising the ground-breaking data protection leviathan for what it has achieved to date, the EC has admitted that more needs to be done, particularly in the field of enforcement, if it is to create a genuinely level playing field for personal data rights across Europe and beyond.

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Data protection – another COVID-19 casualty?

With more than one third of the planet’s population currently under some form of COVID-19 related restriction, the wider impact of ‘lockdown’ is becoming apparent. In the UK alone, the wider human cost of this necessary measure has been staggering: two million routine NHS operations cancelled; close to one million applications for universal credit benefit in the final two weeks of March; and calls to a national domestic abuse helpline 49% above average. The global economic picture is equally bleak. The IMF calculates the world economy will shrink by 7% in 2020, with trade levels sinking dramatically and national borrowing set to rise to levels not seen in peacetime. In the face of such dire prospects, for a relaxation of lockdown have grown increasingly vocal. But with a vaccine still 12-18 months off, governments around the world are weighing the apparent trade-off between easing restrictions and maintaining public health.

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Data regulation: An ‘empathetic’ approach from the ICO, but risks remain

While the tragic human consequences of COVID-19 have played out on nightly news bulletins, regulators across Europe have scrambled to adjust their approach to minimise its immediate and longer-term economic consequences. Early on, the UK’s Information Commissioner (‘ICO’) declared its reasonableness and pragmatism in the face of the health emergency and, on 15 April, it fleshed this out in a publication setting out its regulatory approach during the coronavirus pandemic. The ICO’s document is one of a series issued by the data watchdog in recent weeks and will be welcomed by data controllers and processors under exceptional pressure. Nevertheless, those seeking dispensation from data security obligations at this time will look in vain, and risks remain for the unwary.

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Blockchain: from cryptocurrencies to crypto-KYC

As stricter, more complex, requirements in relation to anti-money laundering are implemented in the EU, distributed ledger technology (“DLT”) might offer an answer to streamlining know your client (“KYC”) processes and reducing the frustration around data sharing. In this article, Ami Amin and John Binns discuss what DLT is, what the current issues with KYC are and how blockchain technology (a type of DLT) could offer a solution to the issues presented by traditional KYC processes.

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Online Harms regulation – getting closer?

The Government’s much anticipated response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation has finally been released but those seeking clarity at this stage may be left scratching their heads. It appears to represent no more than an indication of the Government’s direction of travel under considerable media pressure to ensure that “something must be done” writes BCL partner, Julian Hayes and associate, Greta Barkle.

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